Sunday, May 27, 2012

Disappearing act - TouchRetouch photo editing app for iPad/iPhone

From the time I joined the iPhone/iPad family, I have downloaded a variety of apps related to photography. In a future post, I will share some screenshots listing all of the photography-related apps currently on my iPhone and iPad.

TouchRetouch HD
I learned about TouchRetouch from a coworker a couple of months ago. Simply, this app lets draw a circle (lasso) around what you want removed from the photo and TouchRetouch removes it! The app analyzes the areas adjacent to the selected area and replaces what was selected. The level of success will vary, but I have had generally good results.

For advanced or detailed retouches, there is a paintbrush feature which allows you to select an area with a finer level of detail. The clone feature allows you to select a part of the photo that will be copied over the area you want removed. I use both the brush and clone features if the lasso selection feature doesn't retouch as desired.

The "before" photo includes part of a man on the left side, a light and sign on the back wall, and ALL of the stones comprising the stone bridge.

In the "after" image, these elements are gone! Initially, I noticed that the man's shadow in the water remained. Using the clone tool, I replaced the shadow with the water next to it.

Get started
Download TouchRetouch today to create improved pictures. There is a free version as well as versions for iPhone and iPad.
(C) 2012 by

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One Book to Rule Them All - Part 2

In last week's post, I shared how my challenges in juggling multiple calendars and planners resulted in confusion.  After attending a class on organizing life events around your highest priorities, I was able to achieve a work-life balance that I have generally maintained.

However, until recently, I still had two different books to help me stay on top of things. I used a FranklinCovey wire-bound planner for scheduling and tasks.  For notes I used a Moleskine notebook

Notebook and Planner

Planner Options
Just recently I came across a blog post that discussed using a notebook to create a planner. walks you through the steps to create a planner.  There are also several articles and links that discuss the importance of paper-based planning.

Why Paper Still Matters
Years ago I was given a Palm Pilot for work.  It contained my calendar, contacts, and tasks.  Unfortunately, the battery died and I was unable to get it replaced.  I lost everything!  That's why I prefer paper.  Even today, as I type this post on my iPad, I still believe in the role of paper.  I have a copy of my master's thesis on a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk as a WordStar word processing document.  I also have a copy of the same document printed in my library.  Which one is instantly readable right now?

Inspired by the articles on creating my own planner, I now have integrated my planner/calendar with my notebook.  The result is that I have spaces for daily events and tasks along side with pages for notes.  So far, I am happy to be carrying around one less book and still able to keep track of all the information I need.

It does not take long to draw out the boxes for each week.  Keeping track of events, tasks, and goals on one page is nice.  Additionally there is room on the planning side of the page for some notes.  The right page is blank to allow for notes.

Read the articles at to see if creating your own planner is the right solution for you. 

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

One Book To Rule Them All - Part 1

One Ring To Rule Them All
In both the book and movie versions of Lord of the Rings, there are 19 rings (7 for the dwarf lords, 3 for the elves, and 9 for men) that are controlled by "one ring to rule them all." The battle of the story centers around the current owner of the ring, Frodo, who must destroy the ring in order to keep it from the dark lord Sauron. Several years ago, my organization and planning skills felt like I was wearing all of those rings.

Juggling the Rings
I had a daily task sheet that I maintained at work, a computer-based work calendar (Outlook), a separate calendar for personal events, and my cell phone for contacts. Unless I was sitting at my computer, I was unable to know when I had meetings or appointments.

It was during this time that I had the opportunity to attend a FranklinCovey class titled "Focus - Achieving Your Highest Priorities." The course materials featured an integrated planner that include space for event, notes, contacts, and tasks. After using this for a brief period of time, I began using a wire-bound planner and supplementing it with a separate notebook for notes.

Journal p30

My Current Notebook
My current journal, which I started on 6/4/2011, contains notes from meetings, summaries from books I have read, stories and anecdotes that I can use for later presentations or talks. The photo above is of my notes from My Story Can Beat Up Your Story.

If you do not keep a notebook now for your ideas, notes, and reminders, I encourage you to start. You will benefit from having a record to review. Moleskine journals are excellent for writing and drawing and come in a variety of sizes and configurations.

In my next post I'll share a recent discovery that inspired me to change how I use my notebook.

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